a theatre, film & pop culture review
**Updated 2/26: Hugo for the win, y’all!
This category is all about process of elimination.
All were nominated for ACE Eddie Awards (which ceremony will take place on February 18) — so no help there.
Only nine films have ever won Best Picture without being nominated for Best Film Editing. Of those nine, seven were nominated for Best Director, and all seven won Best Director — there goes The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo‘s chances. But don’t feel too bad for those slicksters Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall — they nabbed an Oscar last year for their superior work on The Social Network.
That makes The Artist the clear winner here — boy, that was easy. The film essentially marks Anne-Sophie Bion’s first time editing an entire film by herself (though she shares credit with director writer-director Michel Hazanavicius). Edited in the traditional silent-film manner of the music being composed upon the film’s completion, there was no need to sync sound, and if a word or sentence happened to be cut during the editing process, so what? (It’s not like we would’ve heard it anyway.) So while there are some fun structural issues — like when and how to use those old-school dialog cards —The Artist is, in many ways, the most straightforward of the nominees.
First-time nominee Christopher Tellefsen had it a bit tricker with Moneyball, deftly transitioning between long periods of silence and Aaron Sorkin’s (and Steven Zaillian’s) typically super-speedy speech, while also smoothly integrating archival baseball footage and documentary-styled flashbacks.
Though his fifth time working with director Alexander Payne, The Descendants marks editor Kevin Tent’s first nomination for his ability to keep the quirky to a minimum, with slow, subtle shifts from the humorous to the deeply sad.
If there’s to be a spoiler, it’ll be in favor of Hugo. Scorcese’s longtime editor, Thelma Schoonmaker, has been nominated six times and won three of those times (The Departed, The Aviator, Raging Bull). Not only do they make the most adorable of collaborators (left), but with Schoonmaker’s prowess, they cut a film — in 3D, a first for both — that is unapologetic in its loving deviations from the central story to the quirky characters on the periphery. Some will complain that it’s indulgent, and too much time spent away from the titular hero, while others — like me — wished we could’ve lingered longer.